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Five Injured In New Rbdf Grounding

By FARRAH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

fjohnson@tribunemedia.net

FIVE Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers were airlifted to New Providence over the weekend following the grounding of their vessel, the HMBS Cascarilla, near Ragged Island last week.

In a press statement on Saturday, the RBDF said the incident occurred while officers were patrolling the southeastern region of the archipelago last Friday.

“As a precautionary measure, two crew members were airlifted to the capital through the assistance of the United States Coast Guard helo (helicopter) this morning to receive medical attention and are both in stable condition,” the statement read. “Additionally, a medical team was flown in aboard a defence force aircraft to assess and monitor the condition of the remaining crew members.”

Yesterday, Desiree Corneille, the RBDF’s public relations officer, told The Tribune three other officers were airlifted to New Providence following the medical team’s examination.

In a second press release, the RBDF revealed the injuries the crew members aboard the HMBS Cascarilla received last Friday were “non-life threatening”.

“Four of the five persons airlifted for medical care yesterday have been discharged,” the second release said. “One person has been admitted. She is expected to make a full recovery and is receiving medical care and remains in stable condition.”

The RBDF also said the vessel did not sustain any “material damage” and “remains in operational readiness within the theatre of operations”.

The statement added: “The force continues to participate in training opportunities and execute drills that allow for effective responses that preserves life and safety of its people during its diverse and varied operations. We are grateful to the public for its expressions of gratitude and concerns.”

Investigations are ongoing and officials plan to launch a formal Board of Inquiry to determine the circumstances revolving around the incident.

In July, the agency announced that it had convened a Board of Inquiry to assess the circumstances surrounding the groundings of two other RBDF vessels.

At the time, the RBDF said the grounding of the HMBS Rolly Gray had marked the “second unfortunate incident in recent times,” which prompted the agency to launch an official investigation to “determine the events” surrounding both incidents.

“The Royal Bahamas Defence Force wishes to reassure the general public that those placed in command positions are highly trained naval officers who have graduated from international training academies and colleges with high performance standards,” the RBDF said previously.

“The Royal Bahamas Defence Force has taken measures to strengthen the assessment, selection and professional development of our officers to ensure that such incidents are minimised in the immediate and future.”

Some of the measures include the reinstatement of their prospective craft command qualifying courses; bridge resource management simulation training for all ship crews; onboard assessments of the crew conduct and competency and coordination levels by their mobile sea training team.

The RBDF said their officers would also participate in incident analysis workshops of previous mistakes to help identify “instances of human error and corrective measures” to avoid future occurrences.

The statement concluded: “Service members have been encouraged by the commander (of the) defence force, Commodore Raymond King to embrace the concept of continuous improvement, training and professional development as the Royal Bahamas Defence Force transforms itself marked by the pursuit of performance excellence.”

In April 2018, a clip also went viral of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis admonishing Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel, who is no longer on the force, about marines “mashing up” defence force vessels, adding that officers must “learn to navigate”.

Dr Minnis’ comment came after a set of propellers on HMBS Rolly Gray were damaged that month after the boat departed Coral Harbour, the third time such an incident had taken place in a six-month timeframe. At the time, Commodore Bethel, through information provided to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold, said the commanding officers of two vessels involved in those incidents have been reassigned.

It was also revealed in April 2018 that the cost of repairing HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna, which sustained damage to its port shaft and gearbox in November 2017, was $1.5m.

Comments

Baha10 2 months ago

Ok, clearly GPS Systems are too sophisticated for our Navy ... recommend reverting back to good old trusted “Yachtsman’s Guide”: which was the go to Navigational Manual for Mariners pre-GPS ... just make sure the $50 spent is for “The Bahamas Edition”, as regrettably even the obvious might not be a given for those responsible for these unforgivable ... and costly reoccurring groundings!

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joeblow 2 months ago

We should make them sail Haitian sloops, those never seem to run aground and have built in stealth capabilities!

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B_I_D___ 2 months ago

Bunch of bloody rookies running ships worth millions of dollars.

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tribanon 2 months ago

And all of them with a D- education from a dysfunctional public education system compliments of decades of ridiculous policies by corrupt elected officials aimed at deliberately dumbing down future voters.

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hrysippus 2 months ago

The RBDF is a laughing stock. Their navigational skills are simply pathetic. The organisation should be disbanded and the tasks of intercepting migrant vessels and stopping illegal poaching should be contracted out to private enterprise.

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Porcupine 2 months ago

That was my first thought, as well.

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tribanon 2 months ago

Many in the RBDF would find it most challenging to locate The Bahamas on a spinning globe of our planet.

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Clamshell 2 months ago

Can nobody in an island nation run a boat? Seems like we specialize in two things: Staring into an iPhone, and ordering lunch. If there were an Olympics for those two skills, the Bahamas would sweep all the gold medals.

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ISpeakFacts 2 months ago

Bunch of lousy idiots! Should've put that D- education to good use and pack bags at Super Value!

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Amused 2 months ago

Why do we continue to reassign people for doing wrong. Fire them plain and simple

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Observer 2 months ago

The solution to this occurrence is to employ experienced real marine navigators who are familiar with the territorial waters of the Bahamas, mariners who can teach the youngsters.

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cx 2 months ago

I'm curious if we will ever find out details of any of these grounding. Did they hit a sand dune at speed which is why there was no damage. Another boat caught two poachers boat during the same time. Were they speeding to that area and went in some shallow area they shouldn't have. People will always expect the worse without info. There may have been other factors not related to human error.

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longgone 2 months ago

Can't they find anyone who knows how to properly drive a boat??

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joeblow 2 months ago

... those boat captains who smuggle Haitians seem to do a good job, but they almost never seem to be able to catch them! That alone should make them hirable for the RBDF.

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The_Oracle 2 months ago

They do have Mariners, but they are able seamen, not promoted and older, not into the political pecking order, so they remain Small boat handlers/Deck hands. Sad but The Defense force is just another Civil service job for life for many.

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